General History of Lesvos Island
Since the antiquity Lesvos has been known under various other names, as for example: Pelasgia, Issa, Ethiopia and Aegera (swarthy), Mytonis, Imerti (lustful), Lasia (dense) and Makaria. According to indications emanating from mythology and folk culture, the first inhabitants of the island descended from Thessalia and were considered to originate from the Aeolians.
Although the prehistoric era of Lesvos has not been fully investigated, we presently know about the existence of twelve prehistoric positions ??? most of which are found in coastal areas with only four of them being in the Mediterranean side. It seems that the Gulf of Kalloni has been the one that was most densely inhabited, while the island???s and its settlements??? peak period coincided with the Bronze Age.
After getting over several internal conflicts and disputes in which Alcaeos the poet had participated, at the end of the 7th century B.C., Mytilene managed to establish a democratic regime and a subsequent political stability thanks to the wise man called Pittakos. Thus, Lesvos developed and gradually acquired great naval power that allowed it to conquer other settlements of the island. The Persian occupation in Lesvos that started in 357 B.C. ends in 332 B.C., when Alexander the Great frees the island. During the Roman years Antissa and Pyrra, two of the five settlements, disappear after losing their power. Once more Mytilene appears to be the location most densely inhabited. Some of the most renowned Romans of the time (Pompey, Agrippa, Germanikos) visit the island providing it with privileges and other goods. Around 52 B.C. Lesvos accepts the lights of Christianity by Apostle Paul.
During the palaeoChristian period and until the beginning of the early Byzantine times, Lesvos lives in peace and prosperity enjoying the protection and privileges provided by the emperors, when, in the 8th century B.C., the island is attacked and ravaged by the barbarians. Throughout the period of the Byzantine Empire the island is being used as a host
destination for all the famous exiled personalities, such as the empress Irene, patriarch Ignatius Ragavee, Constantine the
Gladiator, Leon Kouropalatis and others
In 1355 emperor Ioannis Palaeologos the 5th, grants the island to Genouatis Frangiskos Gatelouzos whose family governs Lesvos for 107 years – one of the longest and brightest hegemonies ever experienced in the Orient. About a decade after the fall of Constantinople ??? in 1462 ??? using a powerful naval force, Mohamed the second besieges Mytilene and after fighting back a strong resistance succeeds in its surrender 16 days later. Lesvos remains under the Turkish occupation until 1912. During the Greek Revolution the island serves as a concentration centre of the Turkish army and navy because of its strategic location. The sea area surrounding Lesvos witnessed a series of naval operations; In Eressos in 1821 and 1824 and at the pass between Lesvos and Asia ??? Minor in 1826. Finally, Mytilene was liberated by the Greek navy in November 8th 1912, whereas the rest of the island was set free one month later.
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